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Official Development Assistance

Volume 545: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2012

The Minister’s answer is welcome, but given the Government’s failure, in what is a rather thin legislative programme, to embed that 0.7% investment in law, can he give a guarantee that there will be the same level of investment in those less fortunate than ourselves in 2014 and 2015?

The Government have been very clear, as have all Members of the House, about our commitment to the poorest in the world and not to balance the books on the backs of the least fortunate. We are the first Government ever to set out clearly how we will meet our 0.7% commitment. On the hon. Gentleman’s specific point about the law, the Bill in question has been drafted, the Prime Minister and I have said that it will proceed, and it rests with the business managers to decide the date for that.

Does the Secretary of State agree that in response to those who, rather facilely, argue that charity should begin at home and that we should not be spending this money, it should be pointed out that not only do we have a moral obligation to people around the world who are less fortunate than ourselves, but we are spending the money firmly in Britain’s best strategic interests?

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. For a spend of less than 1% of gross national income, we are investing in our future prosperity and our security, as well as doing the right thing by the least fortunate in the world.